You know that ‘someday’ list we all seem to make? The one that just keeps getting longer? Yeah, that’s the one…underneath your coffee cup. Well, I’ve got one too, and I plan on knocking off a few items this summer.
One of the items on my list, aside from stopping in at the Royall Tyrel Museum in Drumheller, is a stop at wonderful Fort Steele, a restored and reconstructed pioneer town situated at the foot of the Great Canadian Rocky Mountains. Not far from Cranbrook, this delightful little town began as a small collection of homes and was driven by gold rush and mineral discoveries until it died out in the early 1900s. One step on the dusty street and you’ll easily lose 150 years or so.
The cars disappear. There’s no loud music, and all signs of modern life seem to melt away. I haven’t been there since I was a young kid, but even then you could feel the stress dissipate. It seemed almost pushed out by a simpler life that somehow envelops you like a favourite childhood blanket.
Fort Steele — Things To Do For Travelers Of All Ages
As you would expect, there are a ton of things to do and see in and around Fort Steele. Follow the plank sidewalks and you’ll be able to visit each of the local ‘stores’ set up along the way. There’s a restaurant type building, post office, and more.
Get homemade clothing at the dressmakers, leather items from the harnessmakers, and metal souvenirs from the smithy’s. You can even have your picture taken in historic clothing. One of my personal favourites, however, was the store that would allow you to purchase custom-made ‘Wanted’ posters with the names of loved ones. There’s interactive displays, and of course, the Wild Horse Theatre, which offers all sorts of fun and informative historic programs and tours.
Whether you’d like a big meal or just something to snack on, Fort Steele BC has plenty for you to taste test and try. Stop in at the bakery or ice cream shop for a treat, or head to the lunch counter or restaurant and take a load off while you down some vittles. The food is different from anything you’ll get anywhere else.
Fort Steele’s Famous Steam Engine and More
If you’d like to see more of the area, there are stagecoach and wagon rides. Perhaps one of the most interesting modes of transportation, however, is the steam engine rides. There’s no better way to see the beautiful scenery and enjoy the crisp, fresh air. The train winds its way past the stunning Kootenay River and through an area no one would see otherwise. Best of all, they run every hour, so it’s easy to fit into your tour.
At the time of publication, prices were extremely reasonable with rides and admission costing as little as $5 each. You can also get package deals at around $25 per adult that gets you into everything, including a train ride!
Fair warning though: Dress for the weather. The townsite is massive and the best stuff is outdoors. With over 60 buildings and 12 acres to cover, you’re going to want to make sure you’re dressed for the weather and bring anything you might need like rain slickers and boots or a hat and sunblock. You’ll also want to make sure you have a good day’s worth of time because, once you get there, you won’t want to leave until you’ve seen and done everything. (That’s why tickets are good for two consecutive days!)
(This post originally appeared on WordPress.com at http://traveltheprairies.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/things-to-do-in-canada-fort-steele-bc-canada/)